One Year Later: Federal Investigators Eyeing Squiggles NFT Creators For Wire Fraud & Money Laundering

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It’s been a year since we first covered the story surrounding Squiggles, an NFT rugpull that was traced down with a full-fledged manifesto. The NFT market has seen so much come and go since this time, but the story of Squiggles has at least one more chapter left in it.

Reports have emerged on Thursday that a U.S. Federal Grand Jury is investigating the founders of the project, including reviewing the aforementioned manifesto document and social media posts.

Let’s dive into the latest in the ‘Squiggles saga.’

Squandering The Squiggles

Not to be confused with the more popular (and of course, much more established and legitimate NFT project) Chromie Squiggles, which fall under the Art Blocks umbrella, this Squiggles NFT project sought the aesthetic seen in projects like Doodles – leaning heavy into cartoonish, wavy visuals.

The manifesto, titled ‘Squiggles Rug Alert,’ caught arguably more attention than the project itself last year, and spanned nearly 60 pages in total. It was released in the hours leading up to mint, and caused quite the uproar in the NFT community; at the time, many of the biggest crypto sleuths and critics, including the likes of Coffeezilla, ZachXBT, NFTEthics, and more released threads and details around the rug. OpenSea swiftly pulled the project from their platform as the commotion grew.

A year later, it was largely believed that the organizers of this rugpull had finally settled with their bag and moved on from the NFT space. While the Squiggles project has continued to be active on Twitter, commentary and dialogue with the account largely reinforces the widespread belief that this project was a full-fledged rug. However, the story might not be quite over yet.

Ethereum-based NFTs have been the breadwinners in the space, but therefore, also the biggest sandbox for scammers and fraudsters to play in, too. | Source: ETH-USD on TradingView.com

Federal Investigation: What We Know

The project’s three founders, Gavin Mayo, Gabriel Hay, and Ali Saghi are cited in the Grand Jury paperwork that has been circulating online Thursday. Federal investigators are specifically looking into violations of Sections 1343 and 1957 in Title 18 of U.S. code, which are related to wire fraud and money laundering.

Interestingly, the news was seemingly first broken by popular independent crypto platform DB News in a tweet that has since been deleted. Bitcoinist was not able to locate the origin of the Grand Jury paperwork that has circulated online.

While the full veracity of the reports cannot be verified in their entirety, these reports should not surprise anyone; U.S. investigators have cracked down in recent months over a number of high-profile NFT and DeFi rugs.

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